The good times will sail when lavishly decorated Mardi Gras boats take to Clear Lake Channel for the annual Yachty Gras Grand Night Boat Parade on Saturday, Feb. 23.
The nation’s largest Mardi Gras boat parade begins at 7 p.m. and will cruise along the Clear Lake Channel past the Kemah Boardwalk with “Krewes” tossing colorful beads and doubloons to revelers along the way.
To get the best view of this Mardi Gras on the water festival, it’s a good idea to arrive at least 30 minutes beforehand, as approximately 100,000 people line up along the shore each year to cheer the boats on. Some of the best spots to view the boats include Clear Lake Shores Park and Outriggers restaurant in Seabrook.
Boats range in size from small man-powered boats to large sailing vessels and everything in between. Skippers are encouraged to form traditional New Orleans-style krewes and choose a theme. Boats are judged on best theme, music, lighting, creativity, costumes and enthusiasm and awards given out Feb. 24 at the Kemah Aquarium.
The number of boats vary each year with some years seeing 30 boats and others as many as 125. What hasn’t changed is the organization’s commitment to philanthropy.
Over the past two decades, Yachty Gras has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for organizations such as the League City SPCA; summer camps for children with cancer and others. This year, donations will support the Sea Scouts and the Seabrook Animal Shelter.
So, laissez les bon temps rouler! Or should that be laisse le bon temps naviguer?